T O D A Y O N M Y S T I C A L M O N D A Y
A look on how plant based collagen differs from animal based collagen.
And, how to increase collagen naturally.
What exactly is collagen?
Within your body are connective tissues. Connective tissues are exactly what their name implies – tissues that connect things. Fascia tissue, dermis (the bottom layer of your skin), muscles, tendons, cartilage and the tissue surrounding your hair and nails are all prime examples of connective tissue.
Collagen is the main protein of all connective tissue. It is insoluble, meaning it’s not broken down by water, and fibrous in shape like strands of thread. The human body has so much collagen that it accounts for roughly one-third of a healthy human’s body!
In fact, it makes up 70% of the protein in our skin.
Fortunately, the human body is well-designed and makes its own collagen when consistently given the nutrients it needs to do so.
Collagen, like all proteins, is made up of building blocks called amino acids, which are properly structured with the help of vitamin C. Many also theorize that the proper consumption of good fat also assists in the assimilation of collagen.
Another interesting possibility that i’ve theorized for sometime is the mucilagenousness of certain edible herbs that also happen to assist in the production of collagen. I've often called it the Holy Mucus of plants, as it's a small category of herbs that contain an essential group of polysaccharides that assist in collagen production as well as wound healing. Herbs that are found under the category of “demulcents” often share the characteristic of being wound-healers, as well as containing similar flavonoids, alkaloids and mucilaginous chemistry. “This chemical stimulates cell proliferation and thus supports wound healing, both internally and externally.” (David Hoffman) For example both horsetail and comfrey are impressive wound-healing herbs, because they contain a good deal of demulcent mucilage.
You don't necessarily need animal based collagen to have an effective supply of collagen. In fact, you could boost your collagen supply with simply the right foods and lifestyle. Nature has provided us quite a large amount of plant based sources of foods and herbs that help boost our own collagen receptors. Huge components to healthy collagen production are: good sleep, exercise, and good dietary choices like healthy fats and proteins, help regulate your own collagen production (and intake!)
The main difference is that plant based collagen helps boost the body's collagen receptors -- especially as we age and we underproduce it -- with its intricate alkaloidal and nutrient composition. Animal collagen is a processed protein that has specific amino acid compositions with a high concentration of glycine, hydroxyproline and proline. These hydroxyproline peptides stimulate cells in the skin, joints and bones, and lead to collagen synthesis through cell activation and growth.
I honestly think both forms can be very helpful, yet, it is crucial to intake any of these forms of collagen with the proper pairings -- like GOOD sourced Vitamin C and/or good fats. Some of my favorite pairings for example is mangosteen, hibiscus, camu camu, rose hips, shizandra berries and amla fruit.
Herbs that are high in silica, calcium, and phosphorus are classic herbs used since ancient time for muscle and joint health, bone strengthening (or classically called "bone-knitters") and wound healing. Also, herbs that contain a good deal of demulcent and mucilage tend to also be excellent skin and connective tissue.
Herbs such as he shou wu, horsetail, nettles, calendula, gynostemma, comfrey, aloe, gotu kola, eucommia, hawthorn, bilberry and more. High vitamin C herbs, like shizandra, mangosteen, rose hips, etc. help the absorption and functioning of collagen receptors as well.
To learn more about the herbs in our formula that support collagen production, click here.
Is comfrey hepatotoxic?
A word on the use of comfrey.
Within our Plant Collagen formula the total percentage of ground Comfrey leaf is 5%. Meaning a total of 1tsp per jar, If used under our specifications its 1tsp within 1.5 months of use. Comfrey is a potent catalyzer when combined properly at the right amount with other supporting herbs. The plant collagen taken daily would not be enough comfrey to create the issue of hepatotoxicity (liver toxicity). Microdosing is actually very powerful to the body, especially when combined with harmonious agents such as hepatoprotective herbs (liver protecting) like Nettle, Dandelion and Gynostemma.
A fascinating fact is that some of the most loved and common herbs in the world have been found to be heptotoxic! Some are: aloe vera, black cohosh, ginseng, green tea, kava kava, noni, etc. All these herbs have clinical studies on how they can affect the liver consumed in rather if consumed consistently in rather large doses.
A couple notes from renowned clinical herbalist and botanist, Maude Grieve:
“Comfrey is one of the most valuable herbs known to botanical medicine. It has been used for centuries with success as a wound-healer and bone knitter. It feeds the pituitary with its natural hormone and helps strengthen the body skeleton. It helps in the calcium-phosphorus balance by promoting strong bones and healthy skin.”
“It helps promote the secretion of pepsin and is a general aid to digestion. It has a beneficial effect of all parts of body, being used as an overall tonic. It is one of the finest healers for the respiratory system, particularly for diseases of long duration like pneumonia. Comfrey is a powerful remedy for coughs, catarrh, ulcerated bowels and stomach.”
of Good Eatings
YIELDS: 1 serving / TIME: 10 min
Warm all ingredients in a small saucepan, whisking frequently. If using homemade nut milk, do not allow it to get too hot or to boil, or the flavor will change undesirably. When the hot chocolate is warm, you can serve as is or blend until frothy for a latte vibe.
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